Illinois women’s tennis ready to take on Arkansas and Oklahoma

Illinois+Louise+Kwong+gets+ready+to+return+the+ball+during+the+match+against+Nebraska+at+the+Atkins+Tennis+Center+on+Sunday%2C+April+3.+The+Illini+won+4-1.

Austin Yattoni

Illinois’ Louise Kwong gets ready to return the ball during the match against Nebraska at the Atkin’s Tennis Center on Sunday, April 3. The Illini won 4-1.

By Christian Evans, Staff writer

After losing 6-1 against Northwestern on Sunday, the Illinois women’s tennis team has Arkansas next on its schedule this Friday.

Arkansas (8-2) has won five straight matches and has moved up to No. 27 in the latest ITA Rankings.

Head coach Evan Clark said the team is ready for the challenge.

“Arkansas is a really good team, but they still are not anything we have not already seen this year, as we have had a good schedule,” Clark said.

Arkansas has two players in the top-100 in singles — Shannon Hudson and Ana Oparenovic.

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Clark said that the team needs to look past its specific rankings and remain focused on improving.

“Almost every team we are playing has ranked singles players,” Clark said. “We are just trying focus on what we can control on practice, by working on some of the things we did not do well against Northwestern.”

Illinois senior Louise Kwong lost her singles match against Northwestern junior Erin Larner. But she said she realizes the chance she has this weekend against Arkansas, saying a win against Hudson “would be huge” because it could get her into the rankings.

Hudson also won SEC Player of the week earlier this month after beating Lily Miyazaki of Oklahoma. The Illini will play against the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday.

Oklahoma is 5-1 in the all-time series with Illinois, with the Illini last winning in 2013.

Oklahoma recently beat SMU 7-0 and University of Missouri-Kansas City 6-1.

Clark said the team is unfazed by the defensive prowess of the Sooners.

“It does not really matter to us,” Clark said. “They are just another quality team, and it is just another good swing for us to get some competitive matches in.”

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